IAB study: Click-throughs not as effective as banners

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Click-throughs are not as effective as banner exposure in measuring Web ad campaigns, according to a survey released last week by the Internet Advertising Bureau.

Banner exposure was found to be responsible for 96% of ad awareness, while click-throughs to an advertiser's Web site contributed only about 4% to an increase in ad awareness, according to the survey conducted for the IAB by researcher MBinteractive.

GETTING IT BACKWARDS

"To think click-through is the only basis for evaluating a Web ad is getting it backwards," said Scott McDonald, director of research at Time Warner and chairman of the IAB research committee.

"This shows you need to be concerned about the 98% of the people who see your banner as much as, if not more, than the 1% or 2% that click through to the site," Mr. McDonald said.

The survey, based on responses from more than 16,000 Web users, found banner ads were effective in raising brand awareness, had a significant impact on brand perception and had a positive impact on intent to purchase.

"It's not about interstitials and it's not about sponsorships," said Rich LeFurgy, chairman of the IAB and senior VP-advertising at ESPN/ABC News Internet Ventures. "Banners in and of themselves have tremendous impact."

POTENTIAL TO INCREASE SALES

Across 12 brands tested, consumer awareness of brands increased, on average, to 64% from 61% after a single exposure to Web banner ads.

In one example of how Web banners impact brand perception, 17% of users who saw a Volvo banner ad agreed with the statement that "Volvo makes a good automobile," compared to 11% who agreed with this statement without having seen the Volvo banner.

The survey also found that consumer loyalty increased 4% across the 12 brands tested after exposure to banner ads, which the IAB said is an indicator of potential to increase sales.

While many advertisers have been pursuing click-throughs as the best measure of a Web campaign, the tide may be beginning to turn back to banners.

FOCUS ON DISTRIBUTION DEALS

"I believe an advertiser's dollar is better spent pushing their own product or service into the media channel as opposed to pulling the user away from the media experience and into an advertiser's Web site," said Seth Goldstein, president and CEO of CKS SiteSpecific, New York.

However, he said banners are just a transitional technology.

"Once [advertisers] determine where the real eyeballs are, they will settle there and make big distribution deals and focus 80% of their effort there," he added, pointing to recent deals between AOL and N2K and Lycos and Barnes & Noble.

Contributing: Beth Snyder.

Copyright September 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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